Monday, 20 October 2008

Attack of the mid 30s professional...cycling to work

Solitaire Townsend at Futerra notes in her blog  this Saturday that, having started cycling to work recently, she's in a underepresented demongraphic. Mid 30's professional women are not in the majority when it comes to the London Cycling commute it seems. Solitaire estimates that London's commuting cyclists can be broken down as such:

40%        Helmet wearing, fluorescent 25-40 year old competitive men (who really shouldn't wear lyrca)

30%        Bare-headed, i-pod blaring 22-30 year old boys riding at supersonic speeds

15%        Cute but worried looking 22-27 year old girls (basket optional)

10%        Serene over 50's of either gender ignoring the traffic

4.8%      Terrified but bolshy parents with child seats/front boxes - beware, may be armed

0.2%      Professional women 30-40 in suits and heels  see blog

First off, I'd love to see a race involving that lot and I can only endorse the cry for more mid 30s professional women on the roads (on bikes), not least because this would mean they weren't in their cars, which from a purely carbon emissions reduction point of view would be great.

But where are the missing cycling demographics?

- '40-50's professional male' beating the traffic he used to drive in and 'giving the smile' to everyone he passes.

- 'New courier guy' - I saw this guy coming into our office the other day. There was (alot of) lycra, sweat, imminent itching and utter confusion when he stood in front of the occupants board in the office. Less pedal, more planning next time.

 - 'The rusty biked women of Cynnal Cymru' - one of the bikes in our office, ridden by a member of staff, is so rusty I am amazed it moves. This bike, branded by Strongbow Cider for some reason says to fellow road users "I'm rusty, I'm a cider drinker and if I hit your car you have everything to lose". I commend this choice of bike.

 - 'Actor-come-sustainability-guru guy' (Rhodri, our Development Manager) who cycles long distances to our office, sometimes hundreds of miles a morning. I know this because he arrives with a fanfare. Rhodri, rather like David Cameron has a car follow him to the office - not because he has papers to carry (that would be ridiculous) but because his bike lock is so heavy he cannot cycle with it, so fair enough.

and as Boris Johnson knows, we all need a bike lock.

I'll let Sustrans pick it up from here Get Cycling folks. You can of course go to the transport section of the Welsh Assembly website and follow the links for cycling, for more information on cycling in Wales.

1 comment:

Rhodri@Cynnal said...

Thanks Neil - you've given me a chance to make a quick call for proper cycle tracks up the three river corridors that empty into Cardiff Bay. The much vaunted Taff Trail is no more than a narrow overgrown pavement along which you have to swerve around bramble tendrils, ambling dog owners, dog mess, prams and four abreast teenage gangs. You have to plough through gravel beds deposited by floods, get whacked in the face by Japanese knotweed and continually ring your bell and apologise to pedestrians - (is this a cycle track or what - get out of the way!!!?) Then the Ely Trail - a sad joke. It stutters along, limping only as far as St Fagans - you need to be Ranulph Fiennes to find the blooming thing let alone ride along it. So, imagine three two-lane cycle-only highways linking Merthyr, Llantrisant and Caerphilly to Cardiff Bay, threading along the river valleys along an overall incline of never more than 20 metres above sea level. Sure there would be compulsory purchase of farmland, slight loss of greenspace perhaps but the rewards would be less congestion, fitter citizens and less CO2. The government in England has worked with Cycling England to launch a series of cycling demonstration towns with a £17m budget. Be nice if we had a similar initiative in Wales. Every time I cycle into work from the Vale I take my life in my hands. My fanfare is a celebration that I have got there in one piece! That bike lock is very very heavy and Fairwater is a big hill to get over. Oh for an Ely Trail!